Taking Matters into Our Own Hands

by Heather Mead
On the Web

The fact that many items on your tech wish list have yet to find their way to Best Buy doesn't mean you can't find a workaround. One of the biggest benefits of using open-source tools is not having to wait for other people to give you what you want. While Doc Searls and others keep their eyes on the big vendors and suppliers, wondering when the customer will gain the upper hand, our web authors have been supplying us with articles about what we can do for ourselves in the meantime.

Take, for example, Linux on the laptop. Other than the recent availability of the Lindows MobilePC (www.linuxjournal.com/article/6662), the options for using Linux on one's laptop have been limited, to say the least. Between system incompatibilities and lack of support, getting Linux up and running may seem next to impossible for many. To this end, Jay Docherty has been writing a web series for us that takes people from the purchasing phase to setting up GNOME, selecting themes and enabling sound. “Configuring Your Laptop for GNOME and Sound” (www.linuxjournal.com/article/6809) explains how to install GNOME 2.2 for Debian, configure support for the i810 chipset, change themes and set up a USB mouse on the laptop.

Another example of assuming responsibility for one's own needs is Roberto de Leo's article, “Self-Hosting Movies with MoviX” (www.linuxjournal.com/article/6474). de Leo wanted to find a “Linux CD mini-distribution that is able to boot and play automatically all audio/video files on the CD”. His internet search for such a CD proved fruitless, so he decided to build it himself. The result is MoviX, which fulfilled his need for a dedicated CD mini-distribution. His step-by-step creation article, however, can be adapted for whatever purpose your mini-distribution might serve.

The quest to have the coolest, fastest, quietest and, simply, ultimate Linux box leaves one with no option other than to build it oneself. Without a doubt, one of Linux Journal's most popular yearly features is the Ultimate Linux Box (ULB) article, where we lay out the components of our dream machine and the reasons why it's so dreamy. This year, we're doing things a little differently in the spirit of community collaboration. We're using the web site as a launching pad for the ULB conception. Articles will be posted naming the contenders in each area. Glenn Stone started the discussion with “Ultimate Linux Box: a Case Study”, (www.linuxjournal.com/article/6764). We're asking for your input, in the form of e-mail to the authors and postings on the article web page, to help make the final decisions. Don't wait until the final ULB is unveiled to tell us where our mistakes are; speak up now.

If you have taken matters into your hands to get what you want for Linux, send article ideas to ljeditor@linuxjournal.com. Be sure to visit the LJ web site often; new articles are posted every day.

Heather Mead is senior editor of Linux Journal.

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